Thursday, 20 April 2017


Writing Prompt for Wednesday Stories 4/19/17
·       April 13, 2017

Debb from Inner Sunshine has chosen  this week’s prompt suggested by myself.   
Write a story, composition, or poem about “What Is a Friend?”  No length limit, no minimum word count.  If you wish, submit your own photo (or a photo within the public domain) to go along with what you write.  Above all else, share the love and just have fun!
WHAT IS A FRIEND?

A wise woman once told me that throughout your life you could only ever count true friends on the fingers of one hand.  Five friends throughout your life?  Everyone else, she told me, were only acquaintances, true friends you will only ever have five in your lifetime.

To explore that a bit more my mind thinks back to what expectations of friendship were and what they are now.   

As a young school child everybody in the class was your friend.  I came from a small village and all the children my age were expected to be friends, all the families knew each other.  At age 11 we separated to different schools and were expected to make new friends. 

I went to an all girls’ school.  Friendships between girls are all in or all out and, as in any school, there are bullies and cliques and oddballs and popular groups.  If you didn’t fit in to any of the ‘normal’ categories you may not have been classed as a friend.

You learn as you become older what makes a friend and hopefully you learn what you need to do or be to become a friend to somebody else but then sometimes you come across friend betrayal.
As I mature in years I’ve come across many people in my life, some there is an instant ‘click’ with them and some perhaps take longer to accept and on the odd occasion some give you that frisson of unease which leads to dislike.

Many friends may have the same likes and dislikes as you do in which you can form a bond.  Surprisingly sometimes you can form a bond and a friendship with people who have totally different likes or dislikes. 

Life moves in cycles and you may move, change careers, have families, life takes you in different directions from your friends, then you have contact after a long absence and just pick up from where you left off.  No awkward moments, no judgements, you’ve already put the time in and you know when the proverbial hits the fan they will be there for you.

Now we come to the modern world and how our horizons have shrunk with better and quicker communications, although that sometimes leads to misunderstandings.  Social media, emails, Skype, texting, photos on various platforms, the written word sometimes gets lost.  As much as it is lovely to stay in touch with family and friends who are distant, geographically as well as in time with work and their own lives and families, it can be quite daunting to stop and think what you should put in an email or a text message or instant message.

We have family in the States and Australia and New Zealand and we can send pictures of our lives, we can stay in contact with them.  My octogenarian parents have found Facebook and absolutely love it for staying in touch with expanding family, new babies, etc.

For myself I have found some lovely virtual friendships through social media, we may never meet in person but we can enjoy each other’s company especially when they live thousands of miles away.  I can wake up in the morning to a message from someone in Australia or New Zealand and my friends in the States or Jamaica can wake up to a post from me.

Is your husband/wife/partner your best friend?

Is your mother your best friend or your father or your sister(s) or brother(s)?

Can you call your son(s) or daughter(s) your best friend or is that a different kind of relationship?

Is there scale of 1 – 10 in friendships?

Who is your number one friend?

Who can you call when you are trouble?

Is it family?

Is it a friend?

Who will drop everything to be by your side when you need them?

Who avoids you when you are going through tough times?

As social standards and morals change, attitudes and behaviours alter and adapt we find we accept different types of friendships.

In 2017 times have changed, sexual discrimination is better than it used to be, race and ethnicity are blending, different religious beliefs are becoming less inflammatory, even non-religious beliefs are not as taboo as they used to be.  We still have an awful long way to go to get rid of all bigotry and prejudice but with the opening up of communications, quick and easy access to information (not all of it true or correct) social stigma, class divide, gender issues etc. are becoming more and more blended.  

  
A SPECIAL FRIENDSHIP

We can only hope that a special friendship could last a lifetime.
 

Photo credit:  Sally Stackhouse

These two special ladies have been friends for more than 60 years.  They are both octogenarians.  My mother (June) is the brunette on the right of the picture and her best friend, Helen, is on the left.

For many years in their early married lives they lived in the same village almost opposite each other, their children were born within a few years of each other.  In fact my mother helped Helen deliver her second baby as he came so quickly and before the midwife was able to arrive. 

Both women have been married to their husbands for 60+ years and both have celebrated Diamond Wedding Anniversaries.

Due to distance and physicality problems they don’t get to see each other very often (although they only live half an hour’s drive away) but they take turns in telephoning each other once a month and can talk for more than two hours at a time. 

They are best friends, wives, mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers.  They have seen an awful lot in their lives.  They have lost loved ones.  Helen is in remission from cancer. 

Helen is a wonderful knitter and made intricate woollen garments.  Mum is a fantastic embroiderer.  They are both good cooks and still, to this day, cook a meal from scratch with fresh ingredients most days of the week. 

This is a special friendship.

This is FRIENDSHIP.


I would like to wish June and Helen many more years of friendship. 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

WRITE.... EDIT.... PUBLISH APRIL CHALLENGE - PEACE AND LOVE


Here is my contribution to this wonderful blog hop hosted by Denise and Yolanda who do wonderful things for the WEP community, thank you both for all your hard work.

The theme this month, as you can see, is Peace and Love, it is also Poetry month and also in the month of April runs another fantastic blog hop of the A-Z challenge.  So Peace and Love fits in with poetry and with the P post for the date of 19th April for those who have taken on the A-Z challenge.

I have a poem followed by a short flash fiction.

GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL

Born too late to be a hippy
Incense sticks of Patchouli
The smell of musk
From dawn to dusk
Fringes and bells
Long skirts a tripping hell
The mantra of peace and love
A symbol of a pair of doves
Free spirited non-conforming
Tall tales and story telling
Still needed to earn a crust
Paying rent was a must
Never mind finding food
For me not the starving in the world
A chance in a lifetime of a trip
An adventure can’t be missed
Three days in a field of grass
A flimsy tent pitched in a morass
Of people, unwashed, unclean
But proud to be seen

PEACE AND LOVE

They said the words peace and love
Far out man, out of sight, white dove
Music played fierce and loud
Rocking out over the crowds
They smoked the peace pipe
Looking like the stereo type
Unwashed, long haired hippies
Bell bottom jeans covered idiosyncrasies

PEACE AND LOVE

The sights and sounds, smells
Hell and jingling bells
She wanted to go home
Where she belonged
She couldn’t pretend anymore
She didn’t want to score
It wasn’t her scene
She wanted to be clean

*************

PEACE AND LOVE

Several decades later a dim and distant memory
Growing hazier as life crowds her story
The elusive peace and love
Striving for the two white doves
Letting go, giving in, standing strong
So much that went wrong
Everyone makes mistakes
It is life’s outtakes
Learn and move forward
Chin up, don’t be a coward

***********

PEACE AND LOVE

Some people find peace and love from spirituality
Some find peace and love from Christianity
Or other forms of worship and beliefs
They bring comfort and relief

A creed, a tenet to live your life by
Sometimes you stray
The path meanders
The lines blur
You become an actor
Scrabbling for an anchor
Holding back the pain of the past
Looking for forgiveness at last

You take a wrong turn
You should have learned
To slow down and consider
The pros and cons before you answer

Before you jumped or leapt
Maybe you should have sidestepped
Not backwards but sideward
Before moving pieces on the chessboard

**********

PEACE AND LOVE

The wind blows through the trees as she steps on the cushioned carpet of bluebells, her hair whips around her face, sticking to her lips with their protective covering of lip salve on them.  The breeze lessens as she walks in to the lee of the copse.   The air hangs and hovers, a feeling of peace envelopes her, stilling her mind, calming her heart.  She becomes one with the earth, grounding herself in to the soil.  The smells of the wood, the iron musky odour of moist undergrowth assails her nostrils. She breathes even deeper, ingesting the power of the ancient world.

She touches the gnarled bark of the closest tree.  Her palm feels the roughness of the wood, she watches a battle of man against beast, spears are flung; they find their mark grievously wounding the animal.  A horde of men dismember the flesh, inner organs a delicacy before they remove the carcass to their womenfolk.  The meat will feed the tribe for many days.

She places her other hand round the side of the tree, pressing her body against the girth of the tree, through her outer garments she becomes aware of another scene, this time the birth of a young child and her heart is filled with joy and love.  It is a precious boy, long awaited to take his rightful place, in due course, as leader of the clan.

She presses her cheek against the bark, it scratches her, marking her skin.  She pulls back, recoiling at the sudden shock of the pain.  Where did the peace go?

Stepping back she looks around her.  There.  Movement at the edge of the wood.  The shrill notes of a mobile phone disturbs the air, discordant, dissonance sounds, a baritone voice answers the insistent instrument.

‘I’ve found her.  Yes, I’ll bring her back to the car, don’t worry, she’ll be fine.’

Michael steps in to the line of her vision, he holds out his hand, encouraging her with a smile to come forward in to his embrace. 

Jane shakes her head.  ‘I’m not ready,’ she whispers, ‘I need more time.’

Michael pulls her gently away, he strokes her arms, strokes her hair, pushes strands behind her ears, kisses her forehead.  ‘I’ll stay with you.  You know I love you so much my darling.  I’ll always love you but you know we need to get back.  The doctor is waiting for you.’

Jane nods in acknowledgement.  They think she needs help.  They think she is going mad, maybe she is but she knows what she feels is true.  She does see things.  She does feel things.  Michael thinks all he has to do is to love her more each day and she will get better.

She knows his love will help her to find peace, she knows she will love him until the end of her days.

Another vision fills her mind.  It is too abstract to make any sense of.  She starts to tell Michael she needs to go back to the tree.  He is firm in his hold as he leads her to the car park.  He seats her gently and straps her in.   Jane feels as though the seat belt is strangling her, she pulls the webbed strap becoming more and more agitated. 

She wants to go back.  She wants to feel calm.  She want to feel peaceful.  She wants to feel love surrounding her.


The doctor greets them both at the entrance to the home.  He welcomes Jane with his kindly demeanour.  He knows how hard this is for her and for Michael.  A nurse settles her in her room as Jane curls up in to the foetal position on her bed.  

Michael’s tears flow as he watches his wife succumb to the drugs the medical profession deem necessary to bring her back to an ordinary life.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

FFFAW - PROGRESS

FFfAW Challenge-Week of April 18, 2017
Posted on April 17, 2017 by Priceless Joy
WELCOME !
111th Challenge
Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers
Week of 04-18 through 04-24-2017

This week's photo prompt is provided by Yinglan. Thank you Yinglan for our photo prompt!

Guide for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers
1. A prompt photo will be provided each Tuesday to be used as a base to your story. Please include photo prompt with your story.
2. Linking for this challenge begins on Tuesday and runs to the following Monday evening.
3. Please credit photo to photographer.
4. The story word limit is 100 – 150 words (+ – 25 words). Please try and stay within this limit.
5. Pingback to the challenge post in your story's post.
6. This is a flash fiction challenge (stories in 100-175 words or less) and each story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Therefore, no serial (continuation) stories. They become too complicated for our readers.
7. Add your story to the InLinkz Link-up (Blue Froggy button). Please let me know if you need link-up instructions.
8. Please keep stories below R rating.
9. Please respect the diversity of our readers and writers in regard to race, religion, and life style choice when writing your stories.

10. Remember, half the fun is reading and commenting on each other's stories.

N.B. our lovely host has suffered a bereavement - my condolences to you and your family. 



Photo Credit:  Yinglan

PROGRESS

The past is just the past

Not always made to last

Leading into disrepair

Rotting in the night air

The damp and dew

Eventually becomes mildew

No renovations necessary

A piece of history

Some people call it an eyesore

She knew it held more

A story waiting to be told

But the land must be sold

More houses will be built

There will be no guilt

A large corporation with no soul

Came in and stole

The heart of the community

Despite all the appeals

So now in the summer

They will turn the acres

Into luxury apartments

High fee paying tenants

Commuters to London town

Original inhabitants will drown

In hooray Henrys

Buzzing round like bees

Loud and obnoxious

They say this is progress.


Word count: 132


Sunday, 16 April 2017

THE REPORT - SUNDAY PHOTO FICTION



Each week a photo is used, donated by one of the participants of Sunday Photo Fiction, and the idea is to write a story with the photo as a prompt in around 200 words. The photo doesn’t have to be centre stage, there have been times when I have had to read the story a few times to spot where the prompt is hidden. Please include a mention and / or link to whoever donated the photo.
This week’s picture prompt is from Jade M Wong

Photo credit: Jade M Wong 


THE REPORT

Chloe’s mum opened the envelope. Chloe sat at the kitchen counter trying to eat her biscuits as though she didn’t have a care in the world.  Her fingers tightened around a glass of cold milk, slipping on the condensation.  End of term reports were so nerve racking.  She should be used to them by now, after all she was 12 years old, but this was her first major one from this school.   

Her parents thought a new school in a new town would help her out.  Chloe wasn’t so sure.  Her mum wasn’t giving anything away, she read slowly, taking in every word, perhaps even reading each sentence more than once.  That can’t be good.

Chloe tried to swallow, biscuit crumbs sticking in her dry mouth.

Alice looked at her daughter and she smiled.  ‘Your English teacher says you have such a vivid imagination, he was really impressed with your story about a dragon clock.  Wait till I tell your dad what a good report you’ve got this time.’

Relief washed over Chloe.  She knew it wasn’t her imagination.   She really had seen a clock with a dragon with red eyes and green wings. Truly she had.

Word count: 197

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

PIZZA - FRIDAY FICTIONEERS

FRIDAY FICTIONEERS

Hosted by Rochell





THE FOLLOWING IS THE PHOTO PROMPT – 100 words maximum

Photo Credit:  Dale Rogerson



PIZZA 

That is disgusting.  Gran wrinkled her nose at the mess.  The half-eaten pizza, all sorts of things cluttered on the work top.  She rolled up her sleeves, donned her pinny and started tackling the detritus.  Picking up the soggy box to deposit it in the bin, she was stopped in her tracks.

 ‘GRAN, STOP.’

She whirled round, as much as her arthritic knees allowed her to nearly dropping the offending item.

‘I want that for my breakfast.’ 

Her tousled headed, six foot grandson leered down at her, smiling endearingly.

Sean dropped a kiss on her cheek.

‘Thanks, Gran,’ he mumbled.

Word count: 100

A BUSY DAY - Wednesday Stories

Writing Prompt for Wednesday Stories 4/12/17
·       April 6, 2017
 Debb Stanton from Inner Sunshine hosts this creative writing weekly, using photo prompts and random words or a combination of both.  If you want to join in the fun please click on Wednesday Stories below. 

In 600 words or less, please write about this photo and use all 10 words:

principal, kite, asylum, loaf, committee, father, cup, athletics, river, station

Here is my story using the prompt:

A Busy Day

Nora answered the telephone, keeping an eye on the rascal sitting midway up the staircase.  He was such a scamp but she couldn’t live without him.  

‘Hi dad.’ 

‘Nora,’ boomed her father’s sonorous voice.  ‘I need you to pick me up from the station.  My train arrives at 6.30p.m. then I’ll need a lift to the River Room at the Conningbrooke Hotel.’

Nora checked the calendar on her wall, ‘dad, I can’t do it, I’ve got a committee meeting myself tonight.’

Well how rude and typical Nora thought as she heard his mobile click off in disgust.  How can a mechanical object sound disgusted?  She laughed at herself for that notion.  

Scamp was still sitting on her stairs, he’d better not be moulting, she didn’t want white hairs all over the freshly painted staircase.  Her cleaner would have a fit when she came in on Monday morning.   Ana was a godsend, a brilliant find but when Nora found out what a life she’d had she was happy to give her a job.  She came over from one of the Eastern European countries a few years ago as an asylum seeker to gain a meaningful life.  In actual fact she had a brilliant mind and was a leading academic professor in a posh university before things became so bad that she and her family fled for their lives.

One of the principal reasons Ana told Nora that they braved the horrific journey was so that her and her husband could give their children a better life.  They thought England would be the best place to do it as they were already fluent in the language.  They had considered the USA but thought a smaller country might be friendlier.

The phone rang again.  It was turning in to a busy day.   Nora smiled as she recognised the caller ID, her sister, Ivy. 

‘Nora, I’ve come up with this brilliant idea,’ gushed Ivy.  ‘We can have a kite flying competition for the kids at the athletics club.  We could make it a fun day with lots of other activities and get all the kids involved, not just the members.  We could give prizes for the best design, they highest flight, the longest flight.’

Nora tried to interrupt her sister, she was worried she wasn’t breathing.  

‘Take a breath, dear.’

Ivy carried on with her idea, all fired up with enthusiasm.  One thing you could say about Ivy and her husband Ted, they may not have any children of their own but they loved being around young people and bringing out their potential.

After that flurry of activity Nora felt the need for a sit down and a cup of tea.  She might even have a slice of currant loaf, after all it was nearly eleven o’clock.

Scamp came running down the stairs, bounded into the kitchen and sat at her feet, a beseeching look on his face.  He’d heard the wrapper being opened on the cake and was waiting expectantly for a crumb or two to fall on to the kitchen floor.

Nora’s mobile phone pinged with a message from her dad.  Brusque and to the point as always, he was going to get a taxi and make his own way to the hotel.  Nora sighed in exasperation.  One day he would realise that she had a life of her own to lead, she wasn’t a replacement for his wife nor his P.A.   She knew he loved her and Ivy in his own way but both the sisters thought a little more consideration from him would go a long way.

Word count: 597


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

WEDNESDAY WRITERS - ALICE

This week's WEDNESDAY WRITERS prompt is a choice of photo prompts.






Using at least three of the pictures and a maximum of 500 words our task is to craft a story.

ALICE


Scuffing through the autumn leaves in her wellington boots, forgetting for a moment or two that she was an adult, a grown up, a responsible human being with responsibilities for not only herself but other people. 

She looked down at her feet, feeling the cold seep up through her woollen socks, creeping up her shins into her kneecaps.  Then she saw the daisy.   A daisy peeking through the dead leaves.  The meaning wasn’t lost on her.  In all dark days there was a glimmer of hope, new life dawning, so come on, girl, she chided herself get it together.

Head up high, shoulders squared, Alice started back towards home.  She would get through these next few days. She would show them all.  No matter what they thought of her she would not dissolve into a useless heap, a female who couldn’t cope, one who cried and cried.  She was done crying.  She was done feeling sorry for herself.  She was done being the victim.

With renewed purpose Alice set about the housework, dusting, polishing, sweeping and hoovering until the living areas gleamed and sparkled.  It was an hour and a half cycle on the washing machine and she was very proud of all she’d achieved in that time.  Now it was time to hang put the washing on the line.  The wonderful breeze would dry the laundry in no time.  She smiled to herself as she started hanging items out, pleased as punch that she’d purchased wooden clothes pegs and not those garishly coloured plastic pegs that broke and snapped their springs as soon as you put them under any pressure.  Sheets and duvet covers were too heavy for them but the wooden ones, apart from being nice and tactile to the touch, could cope with anything.  


As she hung each piece of clothing she chanted her mantra over and over again.  ‘Peg the tops from the bottom and bottoms from the top.’  She didn’t suffer from OCD, honest, she said to no-one in particular as there was no-one in the garden to hear her anyway but really why people didn’t comply with this simple rule of hanging wet washing out was beyond her.  Again she chanted under her breath ‘tops from the bottom and bottoms from the top.’

She stood back and surveyed the whirligig washing line – perfectly hung out washing.  What more could a girl want? 

Well quite a bit actually she mused.  For example, those gorgeous peek-a-boo golden shoes, set off with a bow on the front she saw in the shop window last week. 


They were so delicious, she didn’t really care how much they cost (because she could never afford them anyway) neither did she care if she could actually walk in them.  She would just display them on a shelf in the living room and look at them every day.  She may even stroke the outline of them now and then probably in the pretence of giving them a dust or a polish.

Word count: 499